Projecting a professional image is paramount
to your website's success. It can make
or break your online business. Use this
handy article and links to improve the
professional look and feel of your site.
First, take a general overview of your
site. What is subject matter of your site?
Define it down to a particular topic --
For instance, you can have a website on
Sports. You may have narrowed it down to
a particular sport; say baseball. You may
have narrowed it down even further, a particular
Whatever the subject matter of your site,
keep the content within your site on topic.
Obvious, but important. Someone coming
to your site to check out the Yankees --
don't want to find material on 'how to
hook a rug'!
Make sure that you 'keep your site on
topic'. This one thing alone will improve
the professional image your site projects.
Next, consider your audience, who is it
aimed at? Who are you targeting? For instance,
if it's a general news site, it may be
the whole world. Everyone is interested
in the news.
If it a website on breeding dogs -- your
audience is probably other dog breeders
or those interested in dog breeding. Someone
visiting your site will expect to see content/information
on dog breeding.
Keep your site's audience in mind at all
Now consider the layout and design of
your website. Is it appropriate for your
topic and for your audience. Does the color
scheme and design suit your subject matter?
Does the design and layout suit your audience?
A website catering to young visitors,
offering online role-playing games is not
going to have the same layout or color
scheme as a conservative business site.
Appeal to your audience and subject matter;
again, keep them in mind at all times.
In your site design, go for simplicity.
Don't complicate them with too much flash
and dazzle. Provide your visitors with
what they're looking for -- and make it
quick. Don't have your visitors jump thru
hoops to get what they're searching for.
Have an 'easy to navigate' linking structure.
Keep the overall design within two or
three colors. You can even try an old artist's
trick, make it almost monochromic with
a complimentary color split to bring focus
to your points of interests. Make sure
your fonts are consistent and easy to read
in all the different browsers. Keep the
same logo or brand name on all your pages
-- don't confuse your visitors.
Now, lets get down to some specific changes
or additions that can 'tune-up' your website.
These should improve the professional look
and feel of your site.
Give Them Something to Remember You By!
1. Make a 'favicon.ico' file if you don't
have one. Look down at your computer's
task bar, you should see a version of a
favicon of the programs on your computer.
These are small '16x16' icons or symbols
for your site or product. All major sites
have them. Here's how you can make them:
Use a photo or paint shop program like
Adobe or Paint Shop Pro. Just take your
logo or part of it and reduce it down to
a 16 x 16 image. Adjust the resolution
and play around with it. You can just use
a single letter from your site's name and
jazz it up a bit. You need to upload this
image to your website's directory in an
ico file named 'favicon.ico' -- very logical
Extra help here: http://www.thesitewizard.com/archive/favicon.shtml
Give Them Eye Candy!
2. Make a logo. Or have someone design
it for you. Nothing says professional than
a cool looking logo! A really good one
will brand your site in the minds of your
visitors. Have this logo on all your web
Logo building help here: http://web-bureau.com/modules/logo.php
Put Them on the Map!
3. Make a Sitemap for your site. Extremely
important, make sure you have a sitemap
for your website. Place all the links (if
possible) to your site on here. It will
unify your site and be of tremendous benefit
to your visitors. It's a common courtesy
you cannot, must not ignore. Ideally, you
should have a link to your sitemap on all
your web pages.
4. Redirect Page. Create a redirect or
error page if your web host doesn't provide
one. This is a catch-all page for the '404
Not Found File' that pops up. It will make
your site more professional; plus, you
won't lose all those hard fought for visitors.
Make sure your Redirect Page has a link
to your Sitemap.
Try this link for help: http://www.clockwatchers.com/htaccess_redirect.html
5. Start a Blog and RSS Feed for your
site. If you haven't placed a blog on your
site -- do it now! This is one addition
to your site you should have. Start a blog
on the subject of your site or something
complimentary to it. It will allow for
visitor interaction and will give your
site a boost in the ratings. (Use the link
at the end of this article if you need
help with setting up a blog.)
It will also give you a RSS Feed which
will allow you to syndicate your site's
information or content. Place an orange
RSS or XML button on your site. Since RSS
is somewhat new - you might want to place
a little note explaining xml or the rss
feed. Always place your visitor's comfort
in the forefront.
Send Them to the Doctor
6. Doctor HTML. Check the html code and
spelling of your site. Sites like this
one are great. They will give you a tune-up
for free! I have used this one and it's
excellent. What you're really checking
for is browser compatibility and broken
links. It will also squish your html to
save on your load time. It will check the
coding and any spelling mistakes on your
Correct any blatant 'faux pas' in your
You can find the html doctor here: http://www.doctor-html.com/
You can also go to NetMechanic to reduce
the graphics on your site. As the net goes
broadband, this is becoming less and less
a problem but it's always better to have
a fast loading site.
GifBot by NetMechanic http://www.netmechanic.com/accelerate.htm
Keep Them Browsing
7. Next check your site in all the browsers.
You might be surprised how your site looks
in a different browser. Firefox is increasing
it's users, check your logs, see which
browsers your visitors are using. Make
sure your site looks and operates perfectly
in these systems.
If you have a lot of friends with computers,
check your site on their operating systems
and see how it looks. Make any necessary
changes. You can also try AnyBrowser.com
Screen Size Tester below.
Give Them Spider Food!
8. Spend a day or so, checking all your
keywords. List down your site's major keywords.
The ones you're targeting. Optimize for
the search engines. Most of the traffic
on the web come from search engines, so
make sure your site is optimized for them.
Make sure you have submitted your site
to all of these engines.
Double check your 'title' and 'description'
meta tags for any obvious mistakes. These
get indexed and are often the first line
of contact with any potential visitors
to your site. Professionism here could
have a significant influence on the amount
of traffic your site receives!
Find some great Search Engine Optimization
Give Them A Gentle Reminder!
9. Make sure you have a Bookmark link.
Simple, but many websites don't actively
encourage visitors to bookmark their site.
Have a bookmark logo or link on all the
pages of your site. Remind your visitors
to bookmark. It's a great source of free
You can get a free script from Michael
Give Them Some Jazz!
10. Jazz up your site! Try to find things
that will make your site more interesting.
Give your visitors a reason to visit your
site other than the great content. Offer
a free service, like the one the doctor
uses above! Run a contest! Give away free
stuff or extra bonuses if they visit your
site. In whatever way you can, make your
visitor feel special.
Maybe try a headliner from Feedburner.com
for your rss feed. This will display all
your headlines. Add audio and video "testimonials".
Add other graphics like the ones mentioned
here: favicon, bookmark, sitemap, etc.
But don't overdo it with the graphics,
but add a few to make your site visually
interesting. Even a visually bare-bones
site like Google does this with their logo
on special occasions. It adds a touch of
It is estimated that over fifty percent
of net users now have broadband so the
use of a lot of graphics is not as detrimental
as it once was. But again, don't over do
it, a little spice goes a long way.
But don't put style over substance. It
all boils down to content. Give your visitors
good valuable content or information and
your site will improve faster than with
all the points mentioned above. Don't forget
that basic ingredient while you're fine
tuning your site.
And don't forget your site's visitors.
Make their visit to your site as pleasant
and comfortable as you possibly can.
Always keep your visitor in mind.
Each one is a special guest. Each one
deserves the best site you can produce.
Each one is ...
A VIP with a cursor! Give them the Royal
Your site will reap the benefits and look
good while doing it!
To Create a blog within minutes - visit
RSS Report and Create Blog Guide.
Copyright © 2005 Titus Hoskins of bizwaremagic.com.
This article may be freely distributed if this resource
box stays attached. Visit http://www.bizwaremagic.com
for more simple solutions to your online marketing tasks.